Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
We are in a midcourse correction in Christian theology. The foundation is the blood atonement, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and His saints, the reality of the born-again experience, and life lived in the Spirit of God. This foundation is scriptural and to be relied on. But upon this sure foundation, several traditions have accumulated that are not scriptural, traditions concerning a state of grace, mansions in Heaven, and a pre-tribulation “rapture” of the believers. Even the venerable “four steps of salvation,” although they may be theologically accurate, are employed in a manner that leads away from God’s purposes concerning man.
Because of the confrontation between God and Satan that is on the horizon, we must return to the Scriptures, asking God for understanding.
Today’s Christian theology is “another gospel.”
Table of Contents
For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. (II Corinthians 11:4)
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel. (Galatians 1:6)
“A different gospel.” Are we preaching and teaching a “different gospel” today? It certainly seems so!
I need a lot of help writing this essay and I am asking God for that help right now. It seems as each day passes, the difference between what the New Testament states and what passes today for the plan of salvation becomes more clearly defined. It appears we Christians are preaching “another gospel.” I am going to try to describe this somewhat elusive difference that I cannot define as clearly as I could wish.
The New Covenant
For one thing, we seldom or never hear anyone preach the new covenant as it is presented in the book of Hebrews.
But God found fault with the people and said “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:8-12)
Did you ever hear salvation preached as being the putting of God’s laws in our minds and the writing of them on our hearts? I never did. We preach the way of salvation as believing in the blood atonement, confessing that Jesus is Lord, and believing God has raised Him from the dead. If we do this, we will escape Hell and go to Heaven. Do you see anything resembling this in the above definition of the new covenant?
We are teaching tradition! We are not teaching the New Testament writings! We have taken verses here and there from the writings of Paul and have constructed a “plan of salvation” that does not fit the bulk of the text from the Gospels to the book of Revelation.
You may say to me that the new covenant is for the Jews and our way of salvation is for the Gentiles. I know this is preached today, that there are two different plans of salvation, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles. But the two-plan, two-kingdom concept is unscriptural. It is against what Paul taught. It comes from the wretched Dispensational philosophy, not from the Apostles of the Lamb.
There is only one new covenant. It always is for the House of Israel and the House of Judah. The Christian salvation always is for the Jews, and after that to Gentiles who have been grafted into the one true Vine. All who belong to Jesus Christ are the one Seed of Abraham. If a Gentile is not of the House of Israel through the Lord Jesus Christ, he cannot be part of the new covenant. And there is no other plan of salvation.
The reason God gave a new covenant is that the first one did not produce the kind of change in people God is looking for. The Law of Moses did not result in the righteous behavior God always seeks under every covenant. This is why God gave the new covenant.
It [the new covenant] will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. (Hebrews 8:9)
Paul spoke in Romans chapter 7 concerning the problem arising from the Law of Moses:
Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. (Romans 7:9)
Because the Law of Moses did not create the righteousness, holiness, and obedience God always desires in His creatures, God gave us a new covenant.
Under the new covenant, the eternal moral law of God is written in the mind and heart of the believer. This means he or she will begin to keep the moral law by nature because it has been written in his or her mind and heart. Does this make sense to you? Can you see why the new covenant is superior to the Law of Moses?
The body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ are the new covenant. “This is my blood of the covenant.” As we follow Christ each day, overcoming sin through His Divine grace and virtue, we are given to eat of His flesh and to drink of His blood. This is the way the eternal moral law of God is formed in our mind and heart. Christ Himself is the Word that is being written in our personality.
What I have just stated is the way of salvation that has replaced the Law of Moses. There is no other way of salvation. There are no “four steps” we can take that ensure our escape from Hell and eternal residence in the spirit Paradise. If the truth be known, there are more like four million steps of salvation.
But today, by extracting a passage here and there, we are teaching that the way of salvation is to receive the blood atonement, believe and confess that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord, and we will escape Hell and go to Heaven when we die. This approach and goal is more Gnostic than Christian. It is the Gnostics who stress that a mental belief will free us to go to Heaven. This is not the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as found in the New Testament.
Can you see we have created another gospel? We are not teaching and preaching the Word of God, but traditions we have created. We have made proselytes to our religion, not new righteous creations in Jesus Christ. In fact, it is taught today that we are “saved by grace alone,” meaning that any effort we make to live righteously only pollutes the pure and perfect grace by which we are saved, supposedly. No other concept could be more destructive of God’s intention!
Brother, Sister, there is no such thing as a state of grace in which God does not see our behavior. This is not the new covenant. This is a philosophy derived by employing selected passages of the Bible as axioms and deducing our own plan of salvation from them. We are in gross deception.
Can you see how different today’s plan of salvation is from the new covenant presented in the New Testament? The difference is awesome!
Let me present a couple of passages to demonstrate how our ability to perceive what is written in the New Testament has been destroyed by the “state of grace,” “Gentile salvation,” currently taught as being the Word of God.
The following is a classic example of our departure from the New Testament:
God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; But glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. (Romans 2:6-11)
If you are a Christian, you may be saying, “the above passage does not apply to me because I am saved by grace.” Your perception, your ability to read and profit from the New Testament, has been harmed by the traditional “four steps of salvation.” Paul says:
- God will give to each person according to what he has done. Right or wrong?
- To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life. Right or wrong?
Now think: Is Paul referring to Christians or non-Christians when he says God will give eternal life to those who persist in doing good?
- If we say “Christians,” then we are claiming that Christians gain eternal life by persistence in doing good. Is this true? Not by faith alone, but by persistence in doing good?
- If we say “non-Christians,” then we are claiming that non-Christians gain eternal life by persistence in doing good. Is this true?
If we agree with Paul that God will give to each person according to what he has done, then we are claiming that eternal life can be gained only by persistence in doing good. So the idea of “saved by faith alone” is done away.
At this point you may be ready to think about other things, because it appears from what we are saying (1) that Christians must do good to gain eternal life, and (2) that non-Christians can gain eternal life by doing good. “Ah, but did not Paul in Romans chapters 2 through 5 tell us we can become righteous and thus gain eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ apart from persistence in doing good?” If this were true, Paul would be denying what he had just stated in chapter 2.
The truth is, Paul never taught that we could gain eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ apart from persistence in doing good. Paul taught that we could gain eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ apart from keeping the Law of Moses! When Paul referred to “works”, he was referring to the works of the Law of Moses. He was speaking to Jews who were afraid to abandon circumcision, the Sabbath, the dietary laws, and the feast days.
Eternal life always follows righteous behavior. There can be no eternal life where there is unrighteous behavior. For example, no person with murder in his heart has eternal life dwelling in him, whether or not he “believes” in Jesus. Let me give you another verse.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)
Do you see that eternal life is the outcome, the result of holiness?
But can a person without Christ gain eternal life by doing good? No, and yes. First of all we must recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Tree of Life, the only source of eternal life. If a person who does not know Christ persists in doing good, perhaps God, who sees his heart, will bring him to Christ, just as God brought Christ to Cornelius because of his gifts to the poor. Then he can receive Christ, as did Cornelius, and gain eternal life. But if he rejects Christ when God has brought him to Christ, then he remains under Divine condemnation. This is what the Scripture teaches.
Let us remind the reader at this point that no individual can come to Christ unless the Father draws him or her. We do not choose Christ, He chooses us. There is a sovereign aspect of the Divine salvation. There is more to it than human decision making. Before we can “make a decision for Christ” (an unscriptural expression) Christ must make a decision for us. “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.”
But we said a person can gain eternal life by doing good. Consider the sheep nations of Matthew chapter 25. They did not receive Christ. Rather they assisted the brothers of Christ while they were in distress. Their reward for assisting the persecuted brothers of Christ was eternal life in the Kingdom of God. This means God then brought them to Christ, for there is no eternal life apart from the Tree of Life.
And so Paul’s words stand for eternity. God gives eternal life to those who persist in doing good. The New Testament writings are perfect, having been inspired by the Holy Spirit. When they conflict with our traditions, then we must change our traditions if we wish to prosper. Do you believe this?
Do you believe God wants people who practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, or people who continue on in their sins and self-will, praising God for His “grace” in “saving them.”
If we only realized it, the purpose of Divine grace is to transform us into new righteous creations, not to keep on forgiving us in our sins. This is not the new covenant but it passes today for the plan of salvation.
Second Corinthians 6:16-18
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (II Corinthians 6:16-18)
Now consider: the above passage was written to the Christian people of Corinth. There is no denying this. Paul did not tell them they were on their way to Heaven because they had “made a decision for Christ.” Paul did not exhort them to “go out and save souls.” Paul did not invite them to rejoice because at any moment they would be raptured into Heaven and thus escape their troubles. (It’s a good thing too because these words were written a few years ago.)
Paul said, based on the promise of God, “Come out from the sinful ways of the world. Be a separate holy people as becomes saints. Do not touch what is unclean. If you will do these things God will receive you. God will be a Father to you. You will be the sons and daughters of God.”
“If you will do these things”! According to our traditions of today, Paul should have been stressing that they were saved by grace and not by keeping the commandments of God, certainly not commandments obviously taken from the Old Testament. They should go out and tell other people that they do not have to keep God’s commandments (today’s version of the Great Commission) because salvation is “by grace.” Paul should have emphasized and reemphasized the any-moment pre-tribulation “rapture” so the saints would have something joyful to look forward to.
Instead Paul told them (the saints of Corinth) things they must do if they expect God to receive them.
Can you see that our traditional “four steps of salvation” and the assumptions made concerning them are “another gospel”? We are not preaching and teaching what Paul preached and taught. We say we believe the whole Bible but this is not true. We only believe the few passages on which we base our philosophy, our approximation of the Christian salvation.
Our worst departure from the truth has to do with what the New Testament teaches concerning Divine judgment. We do not seem to understand that the judgment of the guilt of our sins that took place on the cross, and the judgment that always will be exercised concerning our conduct, are two different judgments. We are teaching that the Christian need not worry about the Judgment Seat of Christ because our judgment was completed on the cross. Even though the very thought of the Judgment Seat caused Paul to tremble with fear (II Corinthians 5:11), we assure the believers that no matter how they behave they have nothing to worry about.
This doctrine comes straight from Satan who understands that if we do not fear the consequences of sinful behavior, we are going to keep on sinning. To claim, “If we love Jesus, we will not sin” is folly. It is not effective in practice. Trying to be nice does not work when we are being harassed by the demons and the lusts of our body are on fire.
Notice the following words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ to the members of one of the churches of Asia. Have your perceptual processes been violated to the point you cannot hear what Christ is saying to you?
I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:23)
“I will repay each of you Christians according to your deeds.” Can you perceive what Jesus is saying? Can you be assured from the context of the verse that it is speaking to Christians? Can you notice from the very words of the verse itself that Jesus Christ is speaking to His churches?
- “I will repay each of you according to your deeds.”
“But I am saved by grace.”
- “I will repay each of you according to your deeds.”
“But I am saved by faith alone.”
- “I will repay each of you according to your deeds.”
“Whom will you repay according to his deeds?”
“The members of My churches.”
If we do not believe the words of Jesus Christ in Revelation 2:23, then we cannot claim to believe the whole Bible, the full Gospel.
Are we forgiven through Jesus Christ? Yes, our sins of the past have been forgiven. Our sins of the present and future also have been forgiven, provided we continue to walk in the light of God’s will; not however if we live in the passions and appetites of our flesh and soul.
But our personality must be judged as to its evil characteristics, its rebellious inward nature. As soon as we are willing to reckon ourselves dead with Christ on the cross and alive with Christ in His resurrection, at that moment the judgment of our personality begins. It is appointed to man once to die and after this the judgment begins. That judgment consists of a working out of the evil that is in us as God sends fiery judgments on us. As we confess our sins, God forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). In this manner we pass before the Judgment Seat of Christ.
If we really are following Jesus Christ, truly counting ourselves dead with Him and alive with Him, then we are going to suffer. We are going to suffer so we may be made a partaker of God’s holy Nature; so we may be found worthy of the Kingdom of God. Our ungodly personality must be severely chastised. If we are not being chastised, we are not a true son of God.
All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. (II Thessalonians 1:5)
Why do we suffer at the hands of God? That we may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God.
Some of these thoughts may be new to you. This is understandable considering that we are being taught “another gospel” today.
This essay has presented the ideas of:
- The new covenant.
- Eternal life being associated with persistence in doing good.
- The necessity for coming out of the uncleannesses of the world.
- The fact that Christians, as well as everyone else, will be rewarded according to their behavior on the earth.
These ideas are not new to the Scriptures, Old Testament or New. These concepts are new to us because our Christian doctrine has sailed away from the text of the New Testament and has created a religion based on a few “key verses,” a religion very acceptable to the comfortable “worshipers” of our day who are much more concerned about the rights of people than they are about the rights of God; who will accept a religion that makes few demands on them and promises them escape from Hell and eternity in a mansion in Paradise; that ensures they will not be accountable for their sins and disobedience to God; that teaches Christ became poor that we might be rich in worldly goods.
Because of this “other gospel” that is being preached, the believers view suffering as having nothing to do with salvation. They have no intention whatever of making themselves the slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet suffering and total obedience to Jesus are major aspects of the Christian salvation.
God knows how to deal with the American believers, and with others who hold to this new “gospel” that has been put together by the carnal mind. God’s answer is fiery judgment that will divide between those who really love the Lord and those who are seeking to use God to obtain their own ends.
We do not love the truth, but have chosen to believe that God guarantees the future bliss of those who have made a “decision for Christ” and done little else, and who believe God will cast into the Lake of Fire basically righteous people who never had a chance to hear the Gospel because of the unwillingness of the believers to take up their cross and follow Jesus. Because we believe in such unrighteousness, God has sent a powerful delusion on us (II Thessalonians 2:11).
For those of us who can tell something is amiss, it is difficult to see through the murk and really describe what is wrong. It is as though there is a strong seal preventing us from understanding the Scriptures. We are fighting our way through the fog. I think the angel of the Christian churches is being rebuked by the Lord. I believe the Lord Jesus is starting to fight against us with the sword of His mouth (Revelation 2:16). The only manner in which this blinding fog can be lifted is by coming to Jesus Christ and asking Him to help us live righteously so we can see clearly; to anoint our eyes with eyesalve. It seems to me that the whole Christian movement has been deceived.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten he has been cleansed from his past sins. (II Peter 1:5-9)
Maybe Peter is giving us the answer. Maybe if we, with God’s help, will add these virtues to our personality, we will become effective and productive in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe then our nearsightedness and blindness will be corrected and we will be able to read the New Testament without having to ignore most of the text because we have been “saved by grace.”
If we wish to behold the land that is very far off, if we wish to see the King in His beauty, then we need to behave in such a manner that we can dwell in the very Presence of the Consuming Fire of Israel.
The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil—This is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him. Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar. (Isaiah 33:14-17)
(“Another Gospel”, 3660-1, proofed 20190313)